N.Korea to Olympics, Oprah 2020

Diplomacy: North Korea will send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea as a result of three hours of direct talks today. It’s a symbolic easing of tensions over North Korea’s escalating nuclear missile development.

It will be the first time the North participates in the Winter Olympics in eight years. The North will also send a cheering squad and a performance-art troupe.

Oprah 2020: Oprah Winfrey’s rousing speech at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night set off immediate speculation that she’s going to run for President.

CNN’s media reporter Brian Stelter says two of Oprah’s close friends tell him she is “actively thinking” about running. Winfrey’s longtime partner Stedman Graham told the LA Times after the ceremony, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”

Interviewed on CBS in October, Winfrey said, “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.”

On a night during which almost all the women wore black to call attention to sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, Winfrey had stirring things to say about women.

She said, “So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.

That sounded like an appeal to a political base, but what she said on other topics bolstered the speculation of presidential ambitions.

She said, “We all know the press is under siege these days. We also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To — to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies.”

Get Out: Nearly 200,000 illegal immigrants from El Salvador who have been living in the US under protected status must leave the country, the Trump administration announced yesterday. The Salvadorans were granted protection after a pair of devastating earthquakes in their home country in 2001. They have until September 2019 to leave or be deported.

This comes just weeks after the administration ended similar protections for 45,000 immigrants from Haiti.

The Russia Thing: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to ask President Trump for an interview, several news outlets report. It may be a sign that Mueller is reaching the end of his investigation.

How the White House will respond is unknown. They could just say no, limit the time of the interview, ask for written questions and a variety of other things. Matt Apuzzo and Michael Schmidt write in The NY Times that “allowing prosecutors to interview a sitting president who has a history of hyperbolic or baseless assertions carries legal risk for him. Mr. Mueller has already brought charges against four of Mr. Trump’s former aides. All face accusations of lying to the authorities.”

With proper preparation, Trump can be unraveled. In a 2007 lawsuit against the author of a book about Trump, defense lawyers succeeded in getting Trump to admit 30 lies and exaggerations.

Trump’s suit was thrown out and he claimed it was a success. 31.

Repair Bills: Natural disasters including hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes, and drought last year cost the United States a record $306 billion.

The Goal Line: After trailing in the first half, Alabama came back to win the national college football championship 26-23 in overtime over the Georgia Bulldogs. It’s the fifth title for coach Nick Saban.

With his team languishing, Saban gambled at half time, replacing his sophomore starting quarterback with freshman Tua Tagovailo, who had never started in a college game. That appeared to give them the spark that carried them to victory.

Vocabulary Test: President Trump, who declared himself to be a genius, has the working vocabulary of a 4th grader, according to a speech analysis of the last 15 presidents. Herbert Hoover was the highest at an 11th grade level and Trump was lowest of the 15.

The presidents were evaluated on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level scale using the first 30,000 words each man spoke in office. Trump is mid-fourth grade, the worst since Harry Truman, who spoke at nearly a sixth-grade level.

In fairness, even the smartest presidents have to dumb it down so they can be understood by Americans.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
 
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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